Medical merchandising and legal procedure in late sixteenth-century Spain : the case of petroleum as imported medicine
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This article examines the historical context and particular case of Italian merchant Guido Mondones (also named as ‘Modones’) who sold petroleum as medicine in Spain in the late sixteenth century. The first two-thirds of the article uses printed sources as a way to demonstrate that this merchant was likely not disadvantaged by being a foreigner and itinerant. Nor would he have been considered a suspect for selling oil with healing properties, as it was a fully accepted practice, including among university-trained professionals. All the materials for Mondones’s particular case are archival and contained within a lawsuit from Valladolid that contains a wealth of information about the merchant’s relationship with legal and medical authorities. Through these sources, we learn that he managed to be financially successful by navigating Spain’s particular medical–legal landscape at the time and skillfully defending himself against accusations of tax evasion and selling false medicine.
Bergman , T L L 2020 , ' Medical merchandising and legal procedure in late sixteenth-century Spain : the case of petroleum as imported medicine ' , Social History of Medicine , vol. 33 , no. 4 , hkz032 , pp. 1097-1122 . https://doi.org/10.1093/shm/hkz032
Social History of Medicine
© The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for the Social History of Medicine. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
DescriptionThe author is grateful to the Wellcome Trust for awarding a Small Grant in Medical Humanities (project reference 108792/Z/15/Z) to allow for travel to archives in Spain in the summer of 2015.
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